For some Washington Capitals fans that logged on to Twitter Friday, they saw a terrifying sight. Tom Wilson was photoshopped into a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey.
You guys, it looks so wrong I need to thoroughly wash both of my eyeballs with soap for at least 20 seconds.
— Chris Ramirez (@CRamirezCalif) April 17, 2020
Why does it feel so wrong? Well, first off, the Capitals and Penguins have arguably the biggest rivalry in hockey. Secondly, Penguins fans, in particular, have a beef with Wilson which goes waaaaay back. Let’s review.
In 2015, Wilson and roommate Michael Latta fought the Penguins literally on Pittsburgh’s bench. There was that one time Wilson and Evgeni Malkin got into an angry shoving match in warmups. Wilson concussed Zach Aston-Reese and broke his jaw with a huge open-ice hit in the 2018 postseason. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said Wilson wouldn’t fight Jamie Oleksiak to make amends. “[H]e couldn’t run quick enough to get away from him,” Rutherford said. The next season Wilson knocked out Oleksiak after only three punches. The Capitals forward also once said Pittsburgh would be the “last place” he’d ever live.
The photoshop goes against all that is good and holy so I reached out to the creator, Chris Ramirez, and asked him a simple question: Why?
“I’m a graphic design major in my senior year of college that will be graduating in May. I got into creating sports-related graphics midway through my college career, and I’ve been trying to turn it into a full-time career ever since,” Chris said. “During these strange times of COVID-19, despite still designing a bit for my university athletics program and for an internship, I felt like I wasn’t creating anything really good on my own, like I’d hit a creative block, and that I needed a push in order to get back into making something that others, and myself, would really enjoy. I also wanted to create some more hockey-related content. So, I took to Instagram, and asked my followers for ideas of absolutely ridiculous and absurd NHL jersey swaps. The first suggestion I got came from resident Penguins fan @bpcdesign, which was to put Tom Wilson in a Penguins uniform. So, I found a great photo of Wilson, and got to work. The whole thing probably took about three to four hours for me to complete which is a little long, but I wanted to get it right.”
If by wanting to get it right, Chris means creating a graphic so horrific I’d need a shower, I’m in agreeance.
There was a backlash. Immediate backlash.
“I received over 20 quote tweets and 50 replies of pure disgust at what I’d created,” Chris said. “And that’s how I discovered an effective way to create engagement: piss off a fanbase. Despite the reaction, I’m happy with how the jersey swap turned out, and I’ll definitely be creating similar work in the near future.”
Hopefully, Chris’s next #AbsurdNHLSwap is something devoid of any Capitals context so we can laugh and enjoy it. To follow along, you can follow Chris on Twitter here: @CRamirezCalif.
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